Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
When he was a young boy, Dickens was forced to leave school and go to work in a boot blacking factory because his father was (wait for it...) thrown into the Marshalsea prison for debt. Crazy!
Dickens was very committed to all sorts of social causes throughout his life. One of these was putting some teeth into the intellectual property laws of the time so that those who invented new things could actually make a living from them. Another was organizing the merit-based testing system for civil service workers to end the culture of nepotism and corruption.